The gods seem to be playing with us, as the moment we enter the desert raindrops fall from the sky. It feels like a tease, having just filled our bottles to cover 50km of drought. It only stops again once we reach the Linda River which, like an oasis surrounded by angelica, saves our dry throats from thirst. One more day of 'relaxed pounding on', as we have come to call our 30+ km days, and we reach Kverkfjoll. A true destination in itself, as I was told earlier by an Icelander who was absolutely right about this amazing environment.
Here we could entertain ourselves for weeks!
I have seen many deserts in the world, but this one is totally different. The strange shapes the rocks take, the colours you don't expect at all, the consistency of the sand. No wonder the Icelandic people strongly believe in trolls, elves, and hidden people. "Sigurdur developed this area from the 1970s onwards, building the roads and huts and trying to maintain gardens in the oddest places" Atli, the hut warden, tells us. As he warmly welcomes us, he talks extensively about the upcoming obstacles on our journey. He himself has walked the country from northeast to southwest and knows very well how happy we are when he hands us half a cauliflower, an onion, a bag of carrots and some potatoes. "Real food!!!" both our pairs of eyes seem to exclaim, and we eat everything as fast as physically possible, licking our fingers and enjoying every bite.
We have two more days to go. 70km, towards Askja, the volcanic caldera we marvelled at from the plane. Once there, we will have completed a third of the trip, 333 kilometres. On the one hand I am amazed at our speed. On the other hand, I also regret that even if we do everything on foot, my brain is not able to process it. Too much beauty, too much amazement, too much wonder at the dreamlike world these highlands offer us.
I wipe away a tear in joy and zip up my down jacket a little more. "Are you comfortable in your portable sleeping bag?" says Tjeerd, commenting on the Infinity jacket I love so much and pull out whenever I get a chance. I nod. I'm sitting comfortably. And I'm super exciting for what the next stage of this beautiful journey has to bring!